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Philippine Election Gun (& Airsoft) Ban To Take Effect January 13


For the airsoft community in the Philippines, it’s time to stow their airsoft guns away as they will be in for a period of an election gun ban in preparation for the National and Local elections that will take place on the May 13. The gun ban, which will also cover airsoft as defined by the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolution No. 10446, will take effect on January 13 and ends on June 12, 2019. That’s five months of no airsoft for players in the country.

The gun ban usually takes a toll on airsoft as airsofters take up other hobbies while the gun is in effect and sometimes a number of them don’t go back to airsoft after the ban is lifted, preferring to stick with their newfound hobbies.

In the Definition of Terms in the COMELEC Resolution No. 10446, airsoft is covered in the Firearm definition:

p. Firearm, as defined in R. A. No. 10591, refers to any handheld or portable weapon, whether a small arm or light weapon, that expels or is designed to expel a bullet, shot, slug, missile or any projectile, which is discharged by means of expansive force of gases from burning gunpowder or other form of combustion or any similar instrument or implement, wherein the barrel, frame or receiver is considered a firearm.

The term shall include airguns, airsoft guns, and replicas/imitations of firearms in whatever form that can cause an ordinary person to believe that they are real, including the parts thereof, as defined under pertinent laws.

Imitation firearm, as defined under the same Act and as used herein, refers to a replica of a firearm, or other device that is so substantially similar in coloration and overall appearance to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to believe that such imitation firearm is a real firearm. The term shall include airsoft guns.

Thus, during the period of the Election Gun Ban, airsoft players are advised not to transport their airsoft guns as they may get caught in checkpoint. Doing so shall result into an election offense as based on Section 43 of the resolution, and the penalty is severe as provided for in Section 44:

SECTION 44. Penalty for Election Offenses. -- Any person found guilty of any election offense described in this Resolution shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage. If he is a foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which shall be enforced after the prison term has been served.

Is there a work around so that airsoft players can play? Players in the Philippines will need to verify first with the local Police and COMELEC office before doing this. There are airsoft game sites that allow for players to store their airsoft guns and gear during the gun ban period. Players can play in such sites being private properties and since their airsoft guns and gear are prepositioned there is no need to transport these and be caught in a checkpoint. I will have to reiterate that they will need to confirm first with the local authorities if they allow for this before doing so.

Overall, it’s time to hunker down again for airsoft players in the Philippines, it’s going to be a long five months of watching and listening to politicians making promises, doing sing and dance, and kissing babies. Another political circus is about to begin.